GOOD

As with Gulf Spill, Mine Disasters, and Katrina, Warnings About Japan's Reactor Went Ignored

For many companies, it's still profit over people when it comes to safety.


As the whole world readies itself for a nuclear catastrophe in Japan, where workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are currently trying to prevent a meltdown, news comes that people have known for decades about the dangers of GE's Mark 1 reactor, the reactor at the heart of the Fukushima Daiichi trouble.

As far back as 1972, reports The New York Times, regulators warned that "if the cooling systems ever failed at a Mark 1 nuclear reactor, the primary containment vessel surrounding the reactor would probably burst as the fuel rods inside overheated. Dangerous radiation would spew into the environment." Despite this warning, however, nobody did anything about it, and now millions of people's lives are in jeopardy. Why the hell does this always happen?


Compare the Mark 1 warnings to this story about the "gross negligence" that led to disaster in Hurricane Katrina:

Over the years, the marshy banks of the channel had widened significantly in spots—and long before Katrina hit, experts had warned that the destruction of wetlands could create a funnel effect that would intensify storm surges.

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Or this story about 2010's West Virginia mine explosion:

The West Virginia mine where at least 25 workers died Monday in an explosion was written up more than 50 times last month for safety violations. Twelve of the citations involved problems with ventilating the mine and preventing a buildup of deadly methane.

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Or this story about the BP oil spill, the worst environmental disaster in American history:

BP officials knew about a problem on a crucial well safety device at least three months before the catastrophic April 20 explosion in the Gulf of Mexico but failed to repair it, according to testimony Tuesday from the company's well manager.

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Or this story about the mining firm that owned the site where 33 Chilean miners became trapped deep underground in August 2010:

Between 2004 and 2010, the firm was understood to have accumulated 42 fines from various safety bodies for failing to protect its workers and in 2007 the mine was closed until it was able to show it had met required safety levels. It reopened in 2008.

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Are you seeing the pattern here? Time and again, in the wake of some unspeakable tragedy, we find that that unspeakable tragedy could have been avoided if those in power had simply heeded the warning signs. Instead, the warnings go unnoticed or ignored, and people end up dead.

Why is this so often the case? Simple: profit. In reviewing the Mark 1 reactor in 1972, one official from the Atomic Energy Commission noted that the dangerous design's only real value was that it was "cost saving." So cost saving that its currently being used in 23 of America's 104 nuclear reactors.

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Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

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Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert

This election cycle, six women threw their hat in the ring for president, but is their gender holding them back? Would Americans feel comfortable with a woman leading the free world? Based on the last election, the answer is a swift no. And a new study backs this up. The study found that only 49% of American men would feel very comfortable with a woman serving as the head of the government. By comparison, 59% of women said they would feel comfortable with a woman in charge.

The Reykjavik Index for Leadership, which measures attitude towards women leaders, evaluated the attitudes of those living in the G7 countries as well as Brazil, China, India, and Russia. 22,000 adults in those 11 countries were surveyed on their attitudes about female leadership in 22 different sectors, including government, fashion, technology, media, banking and finance, education, and childcare.

Only two countries, Canada and the U.K., had a majority of respondents say they would be more comfortable with a female head of state. Germany (which currently has a female Chancellor), Japan, and Russia were the countries least comfortable with a female head of state.

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Culture
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

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Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

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